Maxim:Ηττω υπο δικαιου or Be overcome by Justice
Modern Interpretation: Be overcome by Justice
Justice is a word which permeates civilized life, it is vital to the very existence of civilization. Without justice, how do we punish criminals? Without justice, how do we right wrongs? Justice is one of the glues which holds us together, but the concept in of itself is very abstract and very vague, so lets nail down a couple o' things first.
Merriam-Webster (the online version) defines Justice as follows:
a : the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishmentsb : judgec : the administration of law; especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fairb (1) : the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2) : conformity to this principle or ideal : righteousnessc : the quality of conforming to law
So, taking it as objectively as possible we see that the word justice has two basic components. The first relates to legal justice, and evaluating laws impartially and correctly, the second involves being a fair person and conforming and accepting the laws of our land that are in place.
What does that mean for us?
It means be overcome by justice, when you are evaluating or otherwise acting as an arbiter for two of your friends be fair and be impartial. In your everyday dealings, have a sense of fairness about you and strive to eliminate biases as you recognize them, which is easier said than done. What would this entail? Suppose a clerk gives you the wrong amount of change, according to the values enumerated in this maxim, the right thing to do would be to return the extra change. If two friends are arguing, you do not side with the one who you like more or who is nicer to you, but rather, you side with the friend who objectively deserves your support It is not speeding, even when you know you can get away with it. Being overcome by justice is having the attribute affect every action you take, that of fairness and impartiality.
This can certainly be misapplied though. There are certain laws that definitely violate your freedoms and your rights. When a law is worthy of scorn and worthy of being scoffed at, you must ask yourself (and think deeply) if the law truly deserves to be violated. We are all aware that in some countries women cannot legally get an education, and in these countries any woman who dares to get one is not subduing justice, but rather, she is expressing it to the highest degree that a person possibly can.
Fighting what you know for certain to be wrong, like things which violate the inherent equality of persons, this too is being overcome by justice.